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Innermost in the Kåfjord, along the shore in Birtavarre, lies a tight row of boathouses and sheds. The locals refer to them as "fjærabuer" (sheds located in the intertidal zone) due to their location, where the sea transitions into land. This type of structure is a physical cultural memory that represents the way of life of the old Coastal Sámi who lived here. Their lifestyle was based on fishing in the fjord and distant waters, farming/livestock breeding in the fields, hunting and berry picking in the wilderness.

The base areas of the oldest sheds vary in size from 8 to 16 square metres. Each structure is made of wood, typically alder. The alder has a lovely silver grey colour, which all of the unmodified timber used here has. Most of the sheds are constructed using the cogging joint method with exposed corner notches, one has a stave construction and two have a combination of these two methods. All of the roofs are covered with sod. Each one of the older sheds has its gable end facing towards the sea.

The old sheds are not formally listed. However, since they are over one hundred years old, they are automatically listed as Sámi cultural monuments.

Year of construction

19th and 20th century

Building Type

sheds located in the intertidal zone

Construction System / Materials

Cogging joint method


cog joint construction
boat house
sod roof


Hage, Ingebjørg: Freda anlegg i Nord-Norge, in Årbok for Foreningen til norske Fortidsminnesmerkers Bevaring 1989. pp. 111-140.

Hage, Ingebjørg: Fjærbuene i Birtavarre, Sjøsamiske buer og naust, Fotefar mot Nord, Tromsø (year unknown).


Fjærabuene i Birtavarre
Fjærabuene i Birtavarre
Fjærabuene i Birtavarre
Fjærabuene i Birtavarre